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NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke: Name expected in spring, but colors could be surprise

The Vancouver Canucks' colors have caused NHL Seattle to think outside the box. (AP)

One of the more captivating things about a push by the NHL Seattle group to bring professional hockey to the city has been what the team’s name and colors will be. On Monday afternoon, NHL Seattle CEO and president Tod Leiweke shed some light on when fans can expect to hear news on that front – and a hint about the direction – in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore.

Details, images released for NHL Seattle Ice Centre in Northgate

The NHL’s Board of Directors will hold a final vote in December on whether to award an expansion franchise to Seattle – likely to start in the 2020-21 season – and Leiweke said he expects a name to follow not too far after.

“It’s probably gonna be spring, and we’re working on it right now. I’m working on it next week,” he said.

The NHL Seattle group reportedly filed trademarks for 13 potential team names in January, with Totems, Sockeyes and Metropolitans (the name of a Seattle team that was the first American squad to win the Stanley Cup in 1917) among the favorites.

The colors, meanwhile, could go a much different direction than most would think. Seattle’s teams have been known for using blue (Mariners and Pilots), green (Sonics and Storm), or a combination of the two (Seahawks and Sounders). But a neighbor to the north throws a wrench into that idea.

“The colors are really important. And I think one of the challenges that we have in our colors is that if you said ‘Well, are you gonna use the traditional Seattle team colors?’ – putting the Huskies aside – the Canucks use a blue and green scheme in their uniform,” Leiweke said of Vancouver’s NHL franchise. “So on the colors we might be forced to think outside of the box a little bit.”

Practice facility planned

Leiweke had plenty to share about NHL Seattle’s plans for a $70 million practice facility in the Northgate area, which was announced Monday.

“It was something that when I arrived here some months ago, I realized it was gonna be one of the most important things we focused on, and we did focus on it,” Leiweke said of the three-rink facility, which would be a hub for youth hockey programs as well as the NHL team’s training home. “We looked at sites all over the metropolitan area. There was a lot of pressure. We felt that, given what we’re trying to do here, not only creating a great training center for the team but trying to have an impact on local hockey and regional hockey, and I think we got it done. It’s very exciting.

“… We didn’t just want to build a practice facility. We wanted to build something that could be a beacon for what we’re trying to do but also act as a catalyst (for the growth of hockey in Seattle).”